USS Wainwright (DD-62) was the last Tucker-class destroyer built for the US Navy prior to the United States entry into World War I. She was the first of three US Navy vessels to be named in the honor of Commander Jonathan Wainwright, his cousin Commander Richard Wainwright and his son Jonathan Wainwright, Jr. All three men were killed while serving in the Navy.
Wainwright was laid down on September 1914 by New York Shipbuilding of Camden, New Jersey. She was launched on June 12, 1915 with Miss Evelyn Wainwright Turpin, a descendent of the ship’s namesakes, as the sponsor. Lieutenant Fred H. Poteet took command of Wainwright on May 12, 1916.
Wainwright measured a little more than 315 feet in length and just under 30 feet abeam. She was armed with eight 21-inch torpedo tubes and four 4-inch guns. Wainwright was powered by two steam turbines, which were capable of propelling her to speeds of up to 30 knots.
After her commissioning, Wainwright sailed in the Caribbean and the Atlantic. After the United States entered World War I, she became part of the first US destroyer squadron to be sent overseas. Wainwright operated out of Queenstown, Ireland as she patrolled the Irish Sea. During this time, she made several unsuccessful attacks on U-boats while also rescuing numerous survivors from ships that had been sunken by German craft.
Wainwright’s first encounter with a German submarine occurred on May 11, 1917 when she happened upon an abandoned lifeboat. While the crew investigated the lifeboat, a lookout reported that a torpedo missed the ship by only 150 yards Wainwright fired several rounds at what appeared to be a periscope, but no other signs of a submarine were found. After this initial encounter, Wainwright was sent to investigate numerous areas where German submarines were suspected of being. Despite dropping numerous depth charges in areas where U-boats were believed to be located, none of her attacks were fruitful.
Following the war, Wainwright returned to the US and resumed operations with the Atlantic Fleet. She served in this capacity until May 1922, at which time she was decommissioned. Four years later, she was transferred to the United States Coast Guard to assist with the enforcement of Prohibition as part of the Rum Patrol. While with the Coast Guard, she operated under the name USCGC Wainwright (CG-24) until she was returned to the Navy in April 1934. Four months later, she was sold for scrap.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Wainwright (DD-62)
The Wainwright used asbestos products extensively for insulation and fire resistance. When such products wear down, they become friable, which means that individual fibers can break off and escape into the air. Once that happens, they can be breathed in by naval personnel and shipwrights, which puts those sailors and workers at risk for contracting mesothelioma. This aggressive cancer can take years to develop, but once symptoms of the disease become evident, there is usually a very poor prognosis. If you or a loved one suffered an asbestos-related injury as a result of service aboard the USS Wainwright, fill out the form on this page and we'll send you a free information kit about asbestos, the diseases it causes, and what to expect.Sources
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/a8/america-iii.htm Retrieved 14 December 2010